What started with an apology from Caps PR Mogul Nate Ewell ended with information that sent the Twittersphere into a tizzy: The Washington Capitals have signed forward Tomas Fleischmann to a one-year contract. The pact is reported to be for $2.6 million and avoids a potentially messy arbitration hearing that was set to be heard Wednesday.
The important thing to remember here is that the Capitals were going to sign Fleischmann to a one-year deal regardless. You simply do not let a developed asset like a 20-goal scorer walk away for nothing, and avoiding arbitration helps preserve goodwill on both sides. The only important detail was: for how much?
And that seems to be the rub for most: $2.6 million is too much. But is it?
The fine people over at Japer’s Rink did an excellent mock arbitration briefing that illustrates what Flash’s career has amounted to at this point:
It is beyond debate that Tomas Fleischmann is a skilled hockey player. He has improved his per-game goal and point totals in each of his seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL), registering career highs nearly across the board during the 2009-10 regular season and finishing sixth in goals scored on an offensively potent Washington Capitals team.
So the question becomes: what is Flesichman’s 56G/72A /128P in 260 games worth?
The one player with similar career stats at the same ages for the first five years of their career is Valtteri Filppula, who in 290 games has boxcar stats of 52G/77A/129P – never scoring more than 19 goals in a season – making $3.5M in 2010-11.
Then we have the UFA/RFA climate, such as Clarke MacArthur’s $2.4M award that the Atlanta Thrashers walked away from and Matt Moulson also avoiding arbitration after agreeing to $2.45 with the Islanders, along with Alexander Frolov and Alexei Ponikarovsky each signing $3M contracts as UFAs.
This pegs Fleischmann’s value somewhere in the $2.5 to $3.5 million range – despite him being terrible when it came to puck possession (having the worst 5v5 CORSI ON for any Capital playing more than 20 games) or that he was on the ice for more Goals Against per 60 minutes than any other Caps skater.
Luckily for Fleischmann the market (and potential) dictates value, and a 25-year old forward on the upside of his career simply cannot be let go for nothing.
So join me in welcoming the Caps opening night
2nd line left wing mice-droppings collector 2nd line center, and let us know what you think Flash is worth in the comments.